By Gene Renfro
BLUFF CITY — Happy Valley made it look easy against Sullivan North while Johnson County miscues hurt versus Sullivan East Thursday to open the District 1-AA softball tournament.
Happy Valley, now 18-16 on the season, entered as the No. 3 seed and posted an 11-0 win to advance to play Elizabethton today in the 8 p.m. contest. Sullivan East will take on top-seed Unicoi County at 6:30 p.m. after the Lady Patriots won 4-2 against Johnson County.
The day’s action starts when Johnson County, at 12-21, and Sullivan North plays an elimination contest at 5 p.m.
In the final game yesterday, Happy Valley scored in each of the first five innings. The scoring ballooned with a four-run fourth that put the game out of reach.
“It took us a little longer than what I thought, but I guess they didn’t come out ready to play,” Happy Valley head coach Mike Dorsey said of his team.
However, early on it appeared that Kaitlin Campbell was ready from the get-go. The lead-off hitter in the Lady Warriors’ lineup was 3-for-4 and scored three times.
“She can go from hitting home runs to bunting to whatever. She can do it,” Dorsey said about Campbell.
In addition, Kiara Coffey produced a two-run single in the third inning and Kaylee Street drove in two with a single to center in that fourth inning. Coffey also scored during the second inning and was 3-for-4 with a double. Street finished the evening 2-for-4 and in addition scored once.
Brittany Morefield was 2-for-2 and drove in two teammates for the maroon squad. The Lady Warriors’ starting pitcher delivered a triple in the fifth to the gap in right center, and after that courtesy runner Autumn Bergendahl scored the 10th Happy Valley run on a hit by Krisley Roberts. Roberts was 2-for-3 and scored two times.
Overall, eight of the starting nine in the order had a hit as Happy Valley finished with 15 in the contest.
“They hit the ball well, just hope they can do it tomorrow against Elizabethton,” Dorsey said about the offensive attack.
Morefield scattered five hits in a five innings of work and she struck out four. Street came in and kept the shutout in tack for the final two innings. She struck out a pair of Sullivan North batters, gave up a hit and like Morefield, did not walk a foe.
Sullivan North’s Shayla Fortner was 2-for-3 and from the circle she gave up eight earned runs on 15 hits in six innings of work.
Before the Lady Warriors took to the field, Johnson County played the Lady Patriots.
The host capitalized on a total of six Lady Longhorn errors, and all came in the final two innings.
“We didn’t play good,” Johnson County head coach Dana Smith said after the game. “You can’t make errors when the game is scoreless. We didn’t take care of hitting early and we should have. There isn’t an excuse. We just had moments of lapses.”
Brittany Scott reached on an error as Miranda Payne, at first, dropped a throw on what would have been the final out of the sixth inning. After that, Scott stole second and Liza Watson’s throw from behind the plate went into center field. Eden Smith picked it up and got the yellow ball back into the infield. However, the throw went astray for the fourth error in the inning and Scott scored the game’s first run.
Despite two errors, Watson did start two double plays. The catcher bounced out from her position to catch a pop-up and throw to first for double plays in the fourth and sixth innings.
An inning later, Sullivan East struck for three runs with just one hit and two errors. Alix Clark and Karisa White both had RBIs as Madeline Standbridge scored on a wild pitch during the frame.
Johnson County did not give in during the bottom of the seventh. Haley Miller hit a double to left as Smith scored from third. Smith was on after an error at short. She went to third on Hollie Harrison’s single. Miller moved up on a fly out to right and scored on a wild pitch with two outs.
In the circle, Cindi Edington threw all seven innings for the Lady Longhorns. She allowed four runs and four hits. Just one of the Lady Patriots runs went in the earned column.
With the bats, Johnson County had four hits and half of those came from Ashley Arnold.
Sullivan East’s Angel Trent tossed the complete game. She did allow two runs from the circle, but both were unearned. She struck out three, walked one and hit another.